History of the Serbian Language

Serbian is a South Slavonic language spoken mainly in Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Croatia, and Herzegovina. The language has been granted the official status in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Croatia, Romania, Hungary, Montenegro and Republic of Macedonia, it is among the most recognized languages. Montenegro’s official language was Serbian until 2007.

The standard Serbian has a Shtokavian dialect like the contemporary Croatian and Bosnian, making all of them mutually understandable. The Cakavian dialects are famous on the Adriatic coast and on some of the islands, while the Kajkavian dialect is widely used along the area between Slovenia and Croatia.

Montenegrin was made the single official language of Serbia amidst strong opposition from pro-Serbian parties while Serbian was given minority status along with Bosnian, Albanian, and Croatian. As per the 2003 census results, over 60% of the residents declared Serbian as their mother tongue as compared to the remaining 40% who declared Montenegrin as their first language.

The Serbian language shares many similarities with the Croatian language except in terms of certain pronunciations, basic vocabulary and the usage of alphabets.

Prior to the disintegration of Yugoslavia, the language prevalent in that region was Serbo-Croatian. Because of some political and other nationalist reasons, both the languages have been brought to the foreground where few scholars see these languages no different but as mere dialects of the same tongue.

There are 30 letters in the Serbian alphabet totally, each one corresponding to a single sound, making the Serbian spelling comparatively easy. Serbian language makes good use of both Latin and Cyrillic alphabets, most population being literate in both scripts; however Serbian speakers prefer the Cyrillic one.

One distinct attribute that separates the Serbian language from the Croatian language is its flexibility to take loan words from other languages. Earlier, Serbian adopted words from Latin and Greek. Recently it borrowed loan words from English and French.

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